Friday, January 30, 2009

ArTiSt picK of thE WEek, January 30, 2009

THE CHASE by Alma Lee
It is always the Chase with Spot, the conquest is secondary. But then again they had it coming, first the mouse ventured out for that last forbidden morsel, and of course Tabby just could let the opportunity pass...well then the rest is history as they say. What is not shown, as it was too graphic for the housekeepers it what lies on the flip side of this picture...the mess. Some things are better left unseen!

About this painting:
Size 14"x15"
Media: color pencil, metallic marker
Material: 140 lb Bristol
Style: Modern Cubism

Sunday, January 25, 2009

When a Picture Paints...Monday 26, 2009

This is a sample page from my Houndstooth Heretic book of peoms. I am a bit conflicted with this image. I love it, but Christ seem so sorrowful. It is not that I think that he was "happy" going to the cross, but I believe he was joyous. He love us, and his sacrifice was the ultimate portrait of that love.

A Sorrow Great

Some say a sorrow great
lives so deep the soul doth swell,

Disposing the voice of reason
where only silence fell

Deep and desperate inside life’s
tempest, storm and squalls

it abides there
behind Hades heady walls

No– is only phantasm
where evils domain shall dwell

For it is a saints life on earth
that paves the road to hell

With great depth of commitment
we commend our sorrows to our own, but feeble grip

Ever slipping downward as
though Christ’s atonement was but a merry myth

Here we are at Dante’s final gate
alas it is first here, we for our salvation wait

Depression’s insignia,
has framed its sorrow here

So feeble, an emblem
for such forbidden fear

Let it be then wisdom,
soul on the verge
dim twilight

The dawn shall come bearing down
in truth’s almighty light

Ever bearing cross in heart
the saints sorrows, now set hope in sight

Lord, Christ– Savior
strengthen me for the fight

Now wait I, as from heaven, my lover to defend me,
atone, acquit, redeem me against this demonic blast

Is it better to remain here,
clinging to the remnant, tormented and harassed

Gently he caresses me, saying
grasp not for your sanity let go and take my hand

For only I can lead you,
in this dark and evil land

And so it is he loves me,
the lifter of my head

As I followed him into battle
He took my blows instead

by Alma Lee 2007

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Our 44th President Barak H. Obama

Obama prints and products for sale now on imagekind, redbubble, and zazzle see enclosed links

The day finally arrived and what a day it was. How wide is the historical scope of hope! I have documented his rise with art work for the last year, because I find him such a captivating subject. And if you are like me you share in the anticipation of the next 4 years. God Speed President Obama!

Obama Picasso Style: March 2008Obama Sketch 02/08
A short quick sketch to get a feel for Mr. Obama.

Obama and Martin Luther King 02/08
While getting a feel for Obama, I kept getting a feeling of Martin Luther King. They seemed to strike the same cord of hope in people.

At the same time I was expermenting with chalk on black ground and a contemplating Mr. Obama seemed appropiate.

The Hope of Barak 05/09

Lastly I just knew that we were getting an early peak at greatness and this was my final illustration of the man that has engendered so much hope and promise in so many, crossing racial lines, party lines and even the line of diverse faiths. President Barak H. Obama
The Precipice of Hope...

One almost has to wonder if President, who is a praying man, like Solomon before him has asked the Lord for wisdom to lead so great a people? Perhaps that is the Hope he embodies...

Friday, January 16, 2009


Yesterday was my 51st birthday. I celebrated by finishing a self portrait for this months ESBQ show. I decided that I would take you through the process, well the art process anyway the process of being me is well...shall we say complicated. Here is the reference photo:

The first thing that I wanted to do was reverse the particular reason just a matter of preference.

After I reversed the image I laid out just the basic outline on 140 lbs bristol paper with a #2 pencil. I drew it out very lightly so as not to leave any scars or imprints in the paper, bristol paper is has a wonderful forgiveness for plain old pencil.

Once I had the outline done I proceeded to add in the color pencil. This is just a matter of patience and careful observation. It takes awhile before you achieve the saturation you want.

When I was finished I scanned in the image in two separate scanners. (My scanner is smaller than the image) I created a new document in Photoshop and dragged both scans into it. I lined them up and gently, with eraser tool set at 40% erased part of the overlapping images to blend them into a single image. I combined the layers and ended up with my raw portrait.

I then cropped the portrait for better composition. I decided that the scan was not going to take these piece where I needed it to go. I experimented with different filters, and decided that since the theme was about severing the ties that bond me, Plastic wrap filter could best carry that out. That was a little to harsh so I ran it through the ocean ripple filter also.

I was pleased with the overall "bound" feel it gave to the portrait, but it seemed a little busy. I made a duplicate layer and then proceeded to remove areas of my face and hands to lend a visual illustration of breaking out of bondage. I then set the eraser tool set at 25% opacity to "feather" the edges.

All that was left was to now was to add the poem that I had written for this piece:
"Truth will stand it's own
And lead all who would follow
I shall stumble home...

I used the font DjangoITC TT, because it add a little movement and fond unpredictability to the space..a little like me.

All and all this was about a week long project and I think it a good and true illustration of my being. Open, creative and striving to be free! I welcome any comments and critiques you care to share.


Alma Lee's Art for sale here:
Buy my art

Monday, January 12, 2009

When a Picture Paints.... Monday 12, 2009

If a Picture Paints...
Sometimes there are just not enough words, for what fills the heart and soul. This is when I look to the picture to paint. Every Monday I am going to share with you these wordless moments, when only a picture paints the voice of the soul...


Forsaken not, I
Dream out loud
And in doing so
The fool in every crowd

Mock not always
As unlikely it may seem
At the Lord’s leading,
Follow I this dream

As yet the smallest flickering
A match within his store
His love burns within me
Has caused a fire’s roar

And He the kingdom’s kindling
Within the Christian heart
Beating, burning, searing
His desire to me imparts

Shout I now
In my own defense amongst the mocking throng
Forsaken not, I dream out loud,
Alas awakened to fulfillment’s song

by Alma Lee ©2007

I wrote this poem in the lost year of 2006. I needed not only help but Hope. These are part of the words He spoke to me.

About this art:
Drawn on Wacom Tablet
Original: Not available
Prints available:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This weeks pick Cube-a-Kitty series: Kamikaze Kitty by Alma Lee

Cats are addictive there is little doubt. What is not widely known is they are also addicts. Addicted to adventure, fun and the hunt. Kamikaze Kitty is on a mission, flying high in his addiction to flight, he is after that dust bunny under the bed. And make no mistake about it he will rise victorious, or die trying. Don't worry, good bad or ugly he will be home in time for dinner!

I chose primary colors to emphasize the primal untamed side of cats, and cubism best illustrates the fractured nature of the domestic feline.

About this piece:
Size: 12x9
Media: Color Pencil, marker
Materials: 140 lbs smooth Bristol
Status of Original: Available from Artist

Note: The colored pencil is applied layer upon layer to build up deep, vibrant color saturation an effect similar to the renaissance glazing techniques used by the old masters.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

For Sale: Our culture's collective soul

For Sale our Culture Collective soul

We all like deals and in fact the cheaper the more exciting the conquest. I am no different, but I would like you to give the following some thought the next time you decide that buying that pirated CD ect. from China, or pick up that little decorator do dad to hang on your wall, or clever little time saving device, (and by all mean do continue buying them without customers we have nothing), understand, someone has put their heart and soul into that piece, in an attempt to make your life easier, prettier and better. And it is hard work...none of us have a magic wand. Now turn over and see where it was produced. Then read this article from my business associate, Karla Buckley. And see if it doesn't change your perspective. It is time to value our cultural assets, our artists, engineers,inventors ect. We have become a get for next to nothing society, cheap fast and easy. There is a price...a huge price. And finally ask yourself how much are you willing to pay for the forfeiting of our collective cultural soul?

We have all heard about the huge piracy problem in China. One might think, "It's really not a big deal. China is just making copies of DVDs and software that big companies like Microsoft and Warner Bros. produce. Those big companies make enough money anyway." Unfortunately, not just large companies are affected. Small businesses are losing thousands of dollars as well.

Alma Lee Originals, Inc. is a small home-based business that creates artwork. The artwork is licensed to manufactures, who then produce art prints and home d├ęcor items. Alma Lee Originals, Inc. negotiates contracts, which give legal permission to these manufacturers allowing them to produce and distribute a specific number of items over a given period. The manufacturers agree to pay Alma Lee Originals, Inc. a royalty fee, which is a percentage of the sale on each item sold.

Many of the manufacturers contract with Chinese vendors to produce the product. Alma Lee typically sends the manufacturer a JPG file of the artwork and the manufacturer often sends the file to its Chinese vendor. Unfortunately, once the file is sent to China, the file runs the risk of being nationalized.

Alma Lee Originals, Inc. was recently the victim of such a theft. Alma Lee, the creator of a line of roosters, was shopping at Hobby Lobby and noticed a set of clocks featuring roosters from the Alma Lee collection. When she examined them closely, she also saw her signature. The back of the item was labeled with Hobby Lobby's copyright, but the artwork was clearly produced from Alma Lee files.

Hobby Lobby was contacted and made clear the fact that they were not responsible for the alleged copyright infringement. They did not design, develop, or manufacture the items. Hobby Lobby simply purchased the items from a third party vendor in the course of their normal business operations. Their vendor, manufacturer of the product, Fuzhou Profit International Trading Company was unresponsive to both phone calls and written responses. Alma Lee Originals, Inc. was left without recourse and was simply told by its art licensing agent, "As you know, it is very difficult and expensive to prosecute piracy cases in China. It is a huge problem."

The situation is disheartening. The Chinese manufacturer makes a profit by manufacturing and distributing Alma Lee's artwork. The U.S. retailer makes money by selling Alma Lee's artwork in its stores, while Alma Lee receives NOTHING. (Please note Hobby Lobby pulled the Alma Lee inventory from its shelves and is no longer doing business with Fuzhou Profit International Trading Company.) Alma Lee Originals, Inc. is a small business with limited resources and cannot afford a legal battle with the Chinese government.

The lesson learned is simple. The U.S. is part of a global marketplace. Since we are no longer a manufacturing society, our main commodity is our intellectual, trademarked and copyrighted property. We are giving away our competitive advantage, and run the risk of our property being taking over by the Chinese government every time a piece of intellectual property is sent to China.

Key Definitions:
• Licensing - legal permission to do or own a specified thing
• Nationalized – to be taken over by the government.
• Communism – collective ownership of property

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What is Art?

I have asked myself for years...What is Art. I have wrestled with its real purpose? It is beautiful, for sure, but does its value end there. Is art merely for the beautification of our lifescapes? Home, lawn and business? Who determines what is beautiful? Furthermore what is art's value? To me as a creator, to the individual viewer, to us as a whole? Can it value be measured by the size of it's price tag? I have wondered about these things for years. It was in the midst of such pondering, one night, I grabbed an old book off the shelf. I had originally bought it years ago to paint on its cover as altered art, but I never had the heart to do it. It was so beautifully worn, still and warm. Someone had not only owned this book, but it was loved. How it came to be for sale for 10 cents at the budget shop I will never know. But that night, I was positively drawn to it and, and opened it to an essay entitled simply ART. How delightful and fortuitous. As I read it, the book so old, and paper brittle as I would turn the page, it often would separate from the binding. So there I sat, spellbound and awestruck at its lyric, as it fell apart in my arms, breathing it's last will and testament, I gently cradled it, and realized I was in love........ Here is an excerpt from what I read that day.

(copyright free, public domain)
ART Essay by Ralph Waldo Emmerson, second series, 1844

But the artist must employ the symbols in use in his day and nation, to convey his enlarged sense to his fellow-men. Thus the new in art is always formed out of the old. The Genius of the Hour sets his ineffaceable seal on the work, and gives it an inexpressible charm for the imagination. As far as the spiritual character of the period overpowers the artist, and finds expression in his work, so far it will retain a certain grandeur, and will represent to future beholders the Unknown, the Inevitable, the Divine. No man can quite exclude this element of Necessity from his labor. No man can quite emancipate himself from his age and country, or produce a model in which the education, the religion, the politics, usages, and arts, of his times shall have no share. Though he were never so original, never so wilful and fantastic, he cannot wipe out of his work every trace of the thoughts amidst which it grew.

I had my answer, more that mere decoration for our dwellings. True art finds it's it's beauty and purpose in it's ability to cause it's viewers to pause and take notice of the reality of a temporal exsisitence, and give place to the beauty of it's being. Art is the point of origin, not the mere destination of marketing. It is the best place to start!